x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Paul Treu: Cecil Afrika can make transition and play for Springboks

The South African sevens coach believes the 2010/11 Sevens World Series leading points scorer can apply his short-form skills in the 15-man game.

Cecil Afrika, left, made his breakthrough year in the 2010/11 Sevens World Series. His South Africa coach, Paul Treu, says he can easily adapt to 15-a-side rugby.
Cecil Afrika, left, made his breakthrough year in the 2010/11 Sevens World Series. His South Africa coach, Paul Treu, says he can easily adapt to 15-a-side rugby.

Paul Treu, the coach of the South Africa sevens team, feels that Cecil Afrika is capable of translating his short-form skills to the 15-man game.

The playmaker and sweeper finished the 2010/11 Sevens World Series as the leading points scorer and is one of the most exciting players in the world game.

The 23-year-old scored 40 tries and 385 points, despite missing one leg of the series with broken jaw, and is carving out a reputation as a sevens specialist.

But despite not being part of South Africa's Tri Nations squad and unlikely to travel to New Zealand for the World Cup, Treu is confident his protégé can make his mark in the 15-man game.

"He took a season to find his feet but he has stepped up big time," True said. "He can tear any defence to pieces as he is so explosive, so elusive and so difficult to stop.

"He's so small yet makes the big tackles on the big guys from Fiji and Samoa. He can be one of best 15s players. He scored two tries in a recent 15-a-side invitation game, including one from 80 metres. He's got great talent and it will be a pity if he doesn't get recognised at 15s.

"Some people say he can only play sevens but believe he can go all the way and play for the Boks."

Treu revealed the Port Elizabeth-born back has signed a new contract with the South Africa Rugby Football Union until next year.

"The game is looking for a few icons and he could be the face of sevens," Treu said. "You've got [DJ] Forbes in New Zealand and [Ben] Gollings in England. Cecil is starting to be that person in South Africa.

"He has got the profile, the following and is a very exciting player. He is a very humble person and his biggest asset is he keeps his feet on the ground."

kaffleck@thenational.ae


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